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Washington explains why it refrained from using the word “coup” to describe the events in Sudan

Since the highest general in the Sudanese army declared control of power in the country by dissolving the transitional institutions and declaring a state of emergency, the United States has avoided using the term “coup” for what happened, preferring to say it was a “military seizure of power.” 

In response to raising this point in his daily briefing, Monday, State Department spokesman Ned Price said that “when such events arise, we are already defining the description of the coup.” 

But he made it clear that Sudan has been subject to the determinants of a military coup restriction since the 1989 coup by the Bashir regime, pointing out that the United States did not remove Khartoum from this description, even after the December 2018 revolution that eventually toppled former President Omar al-Bashir, who remained in power. For 30 years. 

Price added that the US administration considers what is happening as a “military seizure of power,” noting that “the coup is a legal description used by the US State Department. It goes back to 1989.

“The determinants of the 1989 coup will remain the same until the US Secretary of State acknowledges that a democratically elected government has taken power,” Price explained.

According to a report by the US Congress , Sudan is one of the countries that fall under Article 7008 of the Law on Financial Appropriations for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Operations and other programs because the ruling in it was described as a “military coup”. 

This provision legally obliges the United States to “cease aid to the government of any country whose president has been overthrown by a military coup or by decree after he had been duly elected.”

Price condemned the steps taken by the Sudanese forces, announcing Washington’s freezing of $700 million in aid, which was intended to support the democratic transition in the country, noting that no part of this amount has yet been transferred to Sudan.

He stressed that “we will not hesitate to hold accountable those who engage in violence and deviation in Sudan from the path of democracy,” adding that “what happened in Sudan last night is a military takeover of power.”

The Sudanese army had overthrown Al-Bashir on April 11, 2019, after thousands of people demonstrated in front of the army headquarters in Khartoum, on the sixth of the same month.

As a result, a transitional military council was formed in the country, but the demonstrators continued their sit-in and denounced a “coup”.

On June 3, 2019, armed men in military uniforms brutally dispersed the sit-in in front of the headquarters of the General Command, killing dozens.

An initial investigation ordered by the army indicated that members of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces were implicated in the bloodshed.

In all, 250 people were killed during the suppression of the protests, according to a committee of doctors close to the demonstrators.

On July 17, Sudan’s protest leaders and the ruling military council initialed the “Political Declaration” that establishes the principle of power-sharing during a three-year transitional period. The declaration stipulated the establishment of a “sovereignty council” to manage the transitional period.

After negotiations between the two parties, in mid-August, the Sovereignty Council was formed, which included six civilians and five soldiers, headed by Lieutenant-General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan. Abdullah Hamdok, a former UN economist, was appointed head of the transitional government, which pledged to prepare for democratic elections. 

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